Overexpectation and trial massing.


Three experiments were conducted to examine the interaction of overexpectation treatment and trial massing using a Pavlovian fear conditioning procedure with rats. In first-order conditioning, Experiment 1 found the overexpectation effect (i.e., decreased conditioned responding to a cue after compound training when the elements were previously reinforced), the trial spacing effect (i.e., decreased responding to a cue when reinforced trials are massed), and a counteraction between overexpectation treatment and trial massing (i.e., an alleviation of the decrement in responding seen with overexpectation treatment or trial massing alone when the two treatments are conjointly administered). Experiment 2 replicated Experiment 1 with the critical treatments embedded within a sensory preconditioning preparation. The overexpectation effect, the trial spacing effect, and the mutual counteraction of overexpectation treatment and trial massing all proved significant. In Experiment 3, either the nontarget conditioned stimulus of overexpectation treatment or the excitatory context resulting from trial massing was extinguished. Results are best explained by the extended comparator hypothesis (J. C. Denniston, H. I. Savastano, & R. R. Miller, 2001).

DOI: 10.1037/a0013426

Cite this paper

@article{Sissons2009OverexpectationAT, title={Overexpectation and trial massing.}, author={Heather T Sissons and Ralph R. Miller}, journal={Journal of experimental psychology. Animal behavior processes}, year={2009}, volume={35 2}, pages={186-96} }